Malli Raava: Just another love story
While it's not an especially good film, the performances, especially of the leads and Annapurna, make this one worth a watch
Malli Raava opens at the marriage registrar office with Karthik (Sumanth Kumar), his childhood friend Subbu (Abhinav) and his parents waiting for the arrival of the soon-to-be bride ala Anjali (Aakanksha Singh). A visibly anxious Karthik makes numerous calls to Anjali which go unanswered. Minutes later, a nonchalant Anjali, draped in a silk sari, steps down from an auto only to say that she isn’t interested in marriage. Karthik, who left his job expecting to relocate to the US with her, tries to look unperturbed and hide all the emotional pain. But his disgruntled mother breathes fire at Anjali.
Cast: Sumanth Kumar, Aakanksha Singh, Annapurna, Mirchi Kiran
Director: Gowtham Thinnanuri
Director Gowtham Tinnanuri opts for non-linear narration and the story oscillates between three time frames: 1999 -- when Karthi and Anjali meet each other at a school in Rajole, in 2012 -- exactly 13 years later when Anjali lands in Hyderabad as a project manager in the same company where her childhood friends, Karthi and Subbu work, and later in 2017 -- when she comes back to Karthik to extend her wedding invitation.
Cutting back and forth between the past and the present, the fragmented narrative is at times distracting as the story unfolds at a snail’s pace. The first hour tries the viewers' patience and feels longer than it is. The problem is that the story is told only from Anjali’s perspective. Had the director cut to the hardships of the boy also, it would have been more effective.
Karthik is a typical guy who is happy when Anjali is around, and gets heavyhearted when she isn’t. Anjali, on the other hand, is fickle-minded and torn between the apprehensions of her doting mother and her love on Karthik.
Subbu plays a perfect friend who lends a helping hand and shoulder to cry on for Karthik. That’s not all, he also askes some tough questions of Anjali when she tries to get back into Karthik’s life.
However, it’s a relief that the director hasn’t tried to incorporate over-the-top melodrama. The screenplay moves forward more briskly as the narrative shifts to Karthik’s office. In those portions, Malli Raava is a light-hearted love story with a good dose of emotions and comedy.
The performances are immaculate, and even the characters with limited screen time, like Anjali’s father and mother, are well-rounded. Sumanth gives an effortlessly good performance, particularly excelling in his depiction of Karthik's desperation for Anjali. Debutante Aakanksha Singh is apt for her role and plays her part with ease. Her chemistry with Sumanth looks fresh and believable.
It’s a thrill to see veteran actress Annapurna getting some prominence in the story. Her seemingly love-hate relationship with Karthik is something one would definitely relish and relate to.
Overall, while Malli Raava is definitely not a great film, it isn't boring either. It basically gets a just pass. Go for this film if you want to relive your childhood memories and feel the bitterness of love.